I love Edinburgh. It’s the perfect city for literary lovers and adventure seekers. From hiking to the top of Arthur’s Seat to exploring the most Instagrammable spots in the city, Edinburgh is one city you won’t want to miss. Plus, it’s totally doable to explore Edinburgh, Scotland in 1 day!
Did I mention that this is also a great foodie city? It can be so hard finding the perfect place to eat, especially if you’re only visiting the city for a short time. That’s why I teamed up with some other awesome bloggers to share with you the best places to eat in Edinburgh, Scotland!
192A High St, Edinburgh EH1 1RW
My favourite foods to eat when I am travelling are burgers and I try to eat one in each new destination.
I was excited to hear about Burgers and Beers Grillhouse as it had such excellent reviews and kept appearing in so many top burgers in Edinburgh lists.
I was not disappointed. Although the menu is not huge the quality of the meat is top notch and the burgers are cooked beautifully.
Try not to mess around with perfection too much and go for their Uncle Sam to get the full flavour experience. This burger is patty, Monterey Jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles & mayonnaise Prices are mid-range but so worth paying for the quality of the beef. The Uncle Sam is £13.45
It is one of the best burgers I have had on my travels and I have had many. Then wash it all down with one of their craft beers.
There is a cool vibe in Burgers and Beers Grillhouse making it a perfect stop if you are hungry after exploring Edinburgh or if you are a local I am sure it is already on your list of favourite places to eat in Edinburgh.
Recommended by Jenni from Traveltorecovery.
304 Lawnmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2PS
Whether you are looking for a full meal or a snack, a hot drink or a cold beverage, Deacon’s House Café is the perfect stop. Nestled into Brodie’s Close just off the Royal Mile, the Deacon’s House Café is close to Edinburgh Castle, the Scotch Whiskey Experience and the Scottish National Library.
Within walking distance of virtually all of the Old Town, you can stop in to warm up with their organic coffee creations, whole-leaf tea, signature hot chocolate, or a bit of a bevy (alcoholic or non-alcoholic).
Deacon’s House Café is famous for their traditional Scottish porridge but I highly recommend the Salmon, which is fresh and locally sourced. You won’t be disappointed with the smoked salmon layered on top of free-range eggs and artisan farmhouse bread. Add a cup of coffee, and this will run you a meager £10 – not bad for a filling meal in a downtown location!
With a huge array of cakes, cookies and traybakes, your sweet tooth will be satisfied as well. The sweets menu can change, based on seasonal ingredients, but the traditional Scottish shortbread and Nutella crepes are always on and are sure to please!
Items range from £1.90 to £7.90 so you should figure about £10 per person for a full meal. If you are just stopping for a wee bit of a snack at teatime, the average price is about £5 per person for tea and a freshly made scone. Deacon’s House Café offers tasty snacks, meals and drinks in the heart of the city. A definite must-stop during any Edinburgh visit!
Recommended by Tanya from Global Bakes.
3a St Andrew Square, Edinburgh EH2 2BD
For a moment, when you enter Dishoom Bombay Café on St Andrew’s Square, you may forget that you are in Edinburgh, Scotland. The authenticity of the décor, the warm welcome at the door and the incense burning in the dining room will transport you to Bombay.
Then there’s the food. After greetings from the friendly weight staff, you’ll be excited by the offerings, including numerous vegan options. Our waiter sat to chat with us about the menu and explained that the portions are meant to be shared around the table. This is the best way to eat at Dishoom because you will regret it if you don’t get to try everything!
We started with vegetable samosas and soon had a table-full of courses to taste, from mild to spicy meats and sauces, to bowls of rice and tandoor-baked naan, perfect for tearing and sharing. The flavors are as full as you will be when you finish. I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend the Chai. It is to die for!
If you find yourself waiting for a table, wander down to the basement to visit the Permit Room – in Bombay you need a permit to drink alcohol ‘to maintain one’s health’ so the bar at Dishoom carries this name in honor of that tradition.
Only a 5-minute walk from Edinburgh’s Waverly Station and the Scottish National Portrait Gallery means that Dishoom is perfectly situated in the New Town but still close to the Old Town of Edinburgh. Expect to pay about £20 per person (without alcohol) for any meal from breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner. It will be £20 well spent in this iconic Edinburgh restaurant!
Recommended by Tanya from Global Bakes. Want to make some traditional Indian food at home? Check out Tanya’s Shakshouka recipe!
103-105 W Bow, Edinburgh EH1 2JP
If you love to indulge in fresh and healthy food as much as I do, you’ll love Hula Juice Bar. Choose from a menu full of healthy and colourful options for breakfast, brunch and lunch. The real stars on their menu, however, are the smoothie bowls based on frozen acai, mango or banana. Not only Instagrammable, but also incredibly yummy! At lunchtime, they serve a selection of sandwiches, wraps, soup, poke bowls and hula bowls. Make sure you add a fresh juice to your meal – my favourite is Ginger Jack with ginger, carrot, apple and orange.
Unsurprisingly, there are many plant-based items on the menu, which makes Hula Juice Bar one of my favourite vegan eateries in Edinburgh.
But Hula Juice Bar is not just serving pretty, delicious food, they also care about the planet. The shop is plastic-free and all takeaway food is packed in Vegware. Ingredients are sourced locally where possible and the coffee is roasted right here in Edinburgh.
There are two Hula Juice Bars in Edinburgh. My favourite is the one on the corner of Grassmarket and Victoria Street. It is just a stone’s throw from the Royal Mile, Edinburgh Castle and the National Museum of Scotland. Perfect, if you are looking for a lunch break from sightseeing. The other Hula Juice Bar is on Fountainbridge, which is conveniently close to Union Canal and Haymarket train station. Come here for breakfast on your way out of the city for a day trip (for example to Glasgow or Stirling).
Recommended by Kathi from Watch Me See.
12 Bank St, Edinburgh EH1 2LN
My favourite place to eat in Edinburgh is Makars Gourmet Mash Bar. Located just off the Royal Mile this is the perfect place to tuck into some delicious locally-produced food after a hard day of sightseeing.
Makars is not quite a restaurant and not quite a bar but rather somewhere in between. With so many delicious options on the menu your hardest decision will be choosing what to order.
If authentic Scottish food is what you crave then Makars is the place to go. I highly recommend the mini haggis neeps and tatties taster which comes in at £7. If you have a larger appetite order the main course version for £15. Vegetarian haggis also features on their menu.
Deciding just how you want your mash will be your next problem. There are 9 different variations to choose from including Stornaway black pudding, creamed horseradish and Scottish cheddar and chive. Whatever you choose I can guarantee you will enjoy!
Recommended by Tracy from Tracy’s Travels in Time.
34 Victoria St, Edinburgh EH1 2JW
Oink in Edinburgh is one of my favorite places to eat! It’s this cute little shop that serves hog roast sandwiches for a really affordable price, so it’s a great place to go if you’re looking to eat on a budget. I personally went to the location on Victoria Street and there wasn’t much seating at all, so keep that in mind! I ended up eating outside and people-watching, and I had to stand. This didn’t effect me at all with my Oink experience though, because it ended up being my favorite place that I ate at during my time in Scotland.
The process for ordering at Oink is really simple. You pick your size, either Piglet, Oink, or Grunter first. Then you choose your bread, stuffing, and sauce. The prices range from £3.95 to £6.80, depending on the size you choose. I personally recommend ordering a Piglet with sage and onion stuffing and homemade BBQ sauce. It was absolutely delightful! Plus, it was really filling for a meal that honestly cost so little.
The nice thing about the location on Victoria Street is that there are other great places to visit nearby. I recommend checking out The Boy Wizard in particular, if you’re a Harry Potter fan.
If you’re looking for an affordable place to eat in Edinburgh, you’ll definitely have to check out Oink!
Recommended by Krystianna from Volumes & Voyages.
56 Cockburn St, Edinburgh EH1 1PB
The Baked Potato Shop has been around for more than 30 years and is somewhat of an Edinburgh institution. Located at 56 Cockburn Street very close to the Royal Mile and Edinburgh Castle, it’s the perfect place to stop in for a quick lunch while sightseeing. As the name suggests, their specialty is baked potatoes, although they offer a few other nibbles as well. When you order a baked potato, you can have it topped with your choice of 22 different hot and cold fillings, all of which are either vegetarian or vegan.
Some of the most popular fillings include baked beans, hummus and spicy chili. They even have vegan haggis, which is a must-try! It’s perfect for vegetarian or vegan travelers in Scotland who want to try this famous local specialty. People with various food allergies are catered for here as well.
The shop stays open Monday to Saturday from 9 am until late, with potatoes available from 11 am. It costs £6.99 for a large potato and 2 fillings, or if you opt for the meal deal it’s just £4.99 and includes a potato with one filling of your choice and a drink. In the past, there was just one table, so it was primarily a takeaway joint. The shop recently underwent renovations, which added more seating but, according to some long-time patrons, also took away from the atmosphere of the dining area. In any case, at the time of writing, they were offering take-away and delivery only due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Recommended by by Wendy Werneth of The Nomadic Vegan.
44-46 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EJ
When visiting Edinburgh, be sure to check out The Cellar Door for traditional Scottish fare with a modern twist. This Edinburgh hidden gem is tucked away in Old Town, downstairs from the George IV Bridge. Their menu includes both a la carte and set lunch or dinner menus with two or three courses, as well as a six-course Taste of Scotland tasting menu. The Cellar Door also features a full bar upstairs including Scottish gins and whiskys, as well as mixed drinks and pairings for the set menus. A la carte entrees and sets start from £13-20, while the Taste of Scotland is £38.
I love the atmosphere here – small and cozy – as well as the friendly, genuine service. But what really sets the Cellar Door apart from other Edinburgh eateries is their locally-sourced fresh ingredients, inventive take on traditional cuisine, and inspired plating of each dish. Their menu changes often, but always includes vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options. If you’re new to Scottish cuisine, I recommend one of the sets or tasting menus, and definitely try the haggis starter or oat-crusted haggis. Try to save room for their amazing desserts also: either sticky toffee pudding or their version of the traditional Scotttish cranachan cheesecake.
The Cellar Door is located in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town, so it makes an easy lunch stop if you’ve been sightseeing on the Royal Mile or the National Museum of Scotland. Or if you’re staying in the Grassmarket or Old Town areas, it’s a quick walk for dinner and drinks at this local gem.
Recommended by Adrienne from The Haphazard Traveler.
21 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh EH1 1EN
The Elephant House is one of the most famous cafes in Edinburgh, primarily due to its rise in fame as the inspiration place for writers such as J.K. Rowling and Ian Rankin. A large “birthplace of Harry Potter” sign is plastered in the window, so it’s generally packed with tourists. Thus, try to visit as early as you can in the morning.
It is situated in a prime location on one of the central walkways (George IV Bridge), near the National Library of Scotland and Edinburgh Central Library.
While the café specializes in coffee and tea (even with its own Elephant House ground coffee), it also serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu offers wines, draughts and beer, and affordable cakes/delicacies as well.
My personal favorite is the hearty Elephant House breakfast, with bacon, scrambled eggs, Cumberland sausage, tomato and toast. For an extra £1, you can also add Scottish haggis, which I highly recommend.
The average meal is quite affordable, between £5-12. It’s the perfect value for the amount of food you receive, and service is generally efficient.
Don’t forget to visit the restrooms! The white walls are filled with Harry Potter-themed graffiti, and you’re allowed to leave your mark as well. For any Harry Potter fan, this is a must-see place to dine, drink, and pay homage to J.K. Rowling. Its quirky, comfortable atmosphere make it the perfect spot to rejuvenate when you need to take a break from the chilly weather outside.
Recommended by Debbi from My Debstinations.
The Gardener’s Cottage: Royal Terrace Gardens, 1 London Rd, Edinburgh EH7 5DX
The Lookout: Calton Hill, Edinburgh EH7 5AA
Tucked beneath Edinburgh’s Calton Hill, The Gardener’s Cottage dates back to 1836 and as you can guess from the name, it was the home of the the royal gardener – and vegetables are still grown in beds out the front and used in the restaurant’s dishes. The tiny cottage has been partitioned to make a restaurant, with two rooms at the front and the kitchen at the back. Everything has been kept very simple inside, with a pared-back Scandi style and diners eating at long communal tables.
Following the success of The Gardener’s Cottage, the owners opened a second restaurant right above. The Lookout is perched on the top of Calton Hill – literally as the building is built on a cantilever so it hangs over the edge of the hill, and the floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows make it feel like you’re floating. Calton Hill is one of the best places to watch the sunset in Edinburgh, looking out over the spires of the Old Town in one direction and the Firth of Forth in the other.
Both restaurants just offer a set menu for lunch and dinner with a few choices for both meat/fish-eaters and vegetarians. But this lets the fresh ingredients shine, with a focus on local and seasonal produce, both grown and foraged. Think dishes like Berwick lobster, Lindisfarne oysters, beef ribeye and salt-baked celeriac. A set menu costs around £25 for lunch or £50–70 for a six-course dinner tasting menu, which can be paired with matching wines.
But which to choose? The Gardener’s Cottage is more informal and cosy and would be great in winter or for a Sunday brunch. Or The Lookout has the wow-factor, Instagram-friendly views and would be perfect for a special occasion.
Commercial Quay, 78, Leith, Edinburgh EH6 6LX
A long time star of the Edinburgh dining scene, Tom Kitchin’s fantastic self-named restaurant can be found in a converted whisky warehouse down on the waterfront of Leith. From 2006 Tom and his talented staff have wowed diners with seasonal cooking, gaining (and holding on to) a Michelin star since 2007. His ‘Nature to plate’ mantra shines through in all the food. Choose from the a la carte menu, chef’s celebration tasting menu, or the chef’s surprise tasting menu. At lunch time the set menu offers outstanding value and quality and is just £36 for three courses- think crab tortellini followed by Highland lamb rump, all rounded off with a delicious lemon soufflé.
The tasting menus (£90 – £140) showcase the finest Scottish ingredients and take you on a seasonal journey which celebrates all the best elements from both land and sea. My favourite dishes include roasted Orkney scallop with herbs, vermouth and white wine (pictured), the North Sea hake served with shellfish and gnocchi, or perhaps highland wagyu. It is hard to choose as all dishes are a real treat and a great way to spend an evening after a day seeing the sights of Edinburgh.
Service is perfect from start to finish, both friendly and knowledgeable but relaxed. The decor is welcoming with a mix of natural materials and colours with a hint of tartan. The wine list is expansive with a strong emphasis on France, but also interesting lesser known areas contributing effectively.This is an outstanding restaurant in all aspects. We actually chose ‘The Kitchin’ as the venue in which to celebrate our wedding back in 2012 and have returned many times since, Each and every time has been wonderful. The food is high quality, the service excellent and the atmosphere just perfect for that special occasion. When in Edinburgh, ‘The Kitchin’ is a must!
Recommended by Melanie from Two Plus Dogs.
352 Castlehill, Edinburgh EH1 2NF
The Witchery is my absolute favorite restaurant for a special occasion or fancy date night in Edinburgh. Its more lengthy name is The Witchery by the Castle, and indeed, it is located on the Royal Mile very close to Edinburgh Castle. While I usually avoid restaurants in the tourist centre, The Witcher is a notable exception. Tucked away down its own little medieval alleyway, it feels far more like a secret romantic hideout than a tourist haunt.
The Witchery specializes in refined traditional Scottish fare, from lamb Wellington to haggis. Their wine list is extremely refined and impressive—a point of pride for them. Everything is done in five star dining style, even the more humble dishes (you’ll never have a nicer wood pigeon)!
A main dish here will set you back 20-40 quid, and that’s not including drinks. However, as a budget backpacker, I do not recommend a place like this lightly. I splurge maybe once a year on a dining experience, so know that I mean it when I say The Witchery is absolutely worth the splurge! It’s more than the food; it’s the experience, the ambiance, the architecture. When you eat here after dark, the dining room is lit with almost spooky, beautiful candlelight. It’s warm and inviting, and somehow both intimate and grand. This all pairs nicely with one of the tastiest meals you’ll ever have.
Recommended by Kaisa from Glam Granola Travel.
National Museum of Scotland, Chambers St, Edinburgh EH1 1JF
Is it the delectable treats and teas that make this spot one of the best restaurants in Edinburgh? Or is it the incredible panoramic views of the city? In truth, it’s a bit of both! Perched atop the National Museum of Scotland, Tower Restaurant is a haven above the crowds of Edinburgh’s bustling City Centre.
Although many excellent menu items are offered throughout the day, Tower Restaurant’s afternoon tea is not to be missed. £30 per person will buy you an array of savoury and sweet treats along with premium teas. Delivered on a traditional tiered cake stand, your tea will include a plate of sandwiches, a plate of scones with cream and jam, and a plate of cakes. Although the blackberry tartlett is delicious, the scones are to die for!
And, as you sip on your tea of choice, you can gaze out across the Edinburgh skyline. The Tower Restaurant, located on the fifth floor of the National Museum of Scotland on Chambers Street, offers views that graze the charmingly uneven rooftops of Edinburgh and offer a spectacular outlook of Edinburgh Castle.
During the summer months, the outdoor seating area is open for patrons to enjoy the sun. During the winter, restaurant goers can still enjoy this outdoor area to take pictures and enjoy the unique observation point of the city unfolding below.
Tower Restaurant is well worth a visit and it is recommended that you leave time at either side of your meal to explore the museum’s various exhibitions. Being Scotland’s main museum, there is certainly a lot to see; and this only enhances the uniqueness of this restaurant experience.
Recommended by Ronan from Everything Edinburgh.
Looking for a place to stay during your trip to Edinburgh? Be sure to check out my post on Where to Stay in Edinburgh, Scotland to find your perfect accommodation!